Hey Ellsworth, what's your super power?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With October designated as Energy Awareness Month, Ellsworth Airmen have been asked by their major command to decide their super power.

The super power search is part of Air Combat Command's "Power of One" initiative, and revolves around what Airmen do to conserve energy and preserve the environment.

According to Dell Petersen, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron resource efficiency manager, Ellsworth has been making great strides toward energy efficiency - especially in the areas of electricity and water conservation. Recently, Ellsworth installed occupancy sensors in facilities around base, which switch lights on or off depending on the motion or thermal levels within a room.

"We are seeing a generally lower trend in electricity consumption since the installation of these sensors," said Mr. Petersen. "Ellsworth has been one of the top metering bases, since we have begun monitoring electrical usage."

The focus on conservation within the Air Force has evolved to a point where Ellsworth is able to look at a snapshot of its electricity consumption, with data specific to any given facility on base - at any given hour of the day. However, while the trend on Ellsworth has been to reduce electrical usage within its facilities, the costs associated with its usage have been increasing.

"It comes down to a cost versus consumption outlook," said Lisa Teeslink, 28th CES resource efficiency manager. "The overall rates are increasing while Ellsworth's usage is decreasing."

While Ellsworth obtains most of its power from hydro-electricity, the base receives nearly a third of its energy from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas.

"During droughts the base has to supplement its energy with either gas or coal to maintain the needs of the installation," said Mrs. Teeslink.

Wasteful energy consumption can play a huge role in Ellsworth's impact on the environment. Every time an Airman leaves a light on in an unoccupied room, whether at home or at work, it produces excess carbon dioxide emissions at the power generation point. These emissions are increased when Ellsworth relies on fossil fuels.

The Environmental Protection Agency website lists electrical power generation as "the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States."

"October is a great time to look around your shop or home and check for any energy issues which might increase carbon dioxide emissions," said Mr. Petersen. "Door seals and window treatments are easily missed sources of energy waste."

Another source of waste which Ellsworth is addressing is water conservation at the base pool. Currently, water which runs off from the pool is directed to the waste water treatment plant on base. From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, the pool metered more than 242,000 gallons of water usage. However, Ellsworth is planning to install a new system at the pool which will recycle its runoff.

"We are looking at a possible one third reduction in water consumption from the base pool," said Mrs. Teeslink. "This will save Ellsworth a lot of money, as it will cut water disposal and treatment costs."

The base pool isn't the only area on Ellsworth which can be impacted by water conservation. Base residents are encouraged to be mindful of their water consumption. According to the EPA, water waste from a leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water a year.

All of these conservation tactics, when put into practice, help further the mission of Ellsworth - both at home and downrange, said Mr. Petersen. When fewer resources are consumed at home, it translates to more resources able to be provided to Airmen in deployed locations.

"We send people into harm's way at great cost," he said. "The more we save at home, the more we can save downrange. Energy conservation keeps us thinking green, building green and flying blue."